Thursday, December 29, 2005

Belated Merry Christmas

I hope everyone found a tasty meal, or received a thoughtful present, or just spent a bit of time relaxing over the Christmas weekend. Can't beat the simplest pleasures in Life.

And I pray that you all took a step closer to God. Being blessed with His peace in your heart is a gift beyond measure.
Here is the Way to this peace.

The Rose Bowl

I was invited by to make a Rose Bowl prediction. I went with: Texas 41, USC 34. My explanation here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Never Been To Spain Re-Mix

A few weeks back I posted a re-mix of The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

I thought everyone might enjoy another re-mix that
John Summers and I put together this year. It combines a live performance by Elvis with a relatively recent recording from Three Dog Night. It's been so popular with our radio station's audience that it's been put into normal rotation on our play list.

Enjoy: "
Never Been To Spain."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ridiculous Toy

Just humor me for a moment and follow along:

Three kids are looking for something fun to do one afternoon. The first suggests they play hide-and-seek. The second thinks a game of tag would be fun.

The third says, "Let's play
Patriot Act!"

Old Christmas Card

This from a story seen on a local newscast here in Dallas. Timely and interesting. The Bridwell Library at SMU holds one of the first (maybe the first) mass-produced Christmas cards.

The card caused a bit of a stir at the time, because it portrayed a child drinking from a wine glass. The Bridwell
press release...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Harry Potter Theory

Okay, fair warning. Spoilers follow. If you've never read Half-Blood Prince, but you intend to... then stop here.

Otherwise, here we go.

Many of you have come across the site, If you're clinging to the hope that J.K. Rowling hasn't really killed off one of her most endearing non-Harry characters, then you'll find hope at

Some background: Long before the release of Half-Blood Prince I had come across a post on J.K Rowling's official web site that led me to believe Dumbledore was destined to die (or appear to die) and later return. In an answer to an "
F.A.Q. Poll" Rowling writes:

" many of you have deduced, Dumbledore's Patronus is indeed a phoenix."

At that point, I decided Dumbledore's character, his very identity, was so entangled with the phoenix symbol that Rowling must intend to kill him off and then bring him back. (Also consider the title, Order of the Phoenix: Just as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince can be read as Harry Potter and Snape, I think you can read the former as the Order of Dumbledore. It's his order, he's the "Phoenix.")

So from the moment in Book 6 when Dumbledore began throwing down helpings of potion, I began preparing for an Albus death scene. Sure enough, in reasonably short order (no pun intended) Rowling took care of that sad business.

So... to my theory. includes a section titled, "The Flying Avada Kedavra." Dave Haber, the author of that site, notes that, in other instances in which Avada Kedavra is used in the HP canon, the victim immediately slumps or falls to the ground--and is dead before hitting the turf. In Dumbledore's case, however, Snape's spell blasts him into the air and back over the castle's battlements. Haber finds this suspicious, and so do I. As Haber points out, either Snape did not "mean" his unforgiveable curse (check Bellatrix's explanation of unforgiveable curses at the end of Order of the Phoenix), or he was thinking a different spell than he seemed to be verbally casting.

The purpose of my post today is to add to Haber's theory. I've found a precedent for Snape saying one spell while casting another. In fact, this precedent is so perfect, I actually think I'm on to something.

In Chamber of Secrets, Snape and Lockhart put on a duel for the students. When Snape casts the Expelliarmus spell at Lockhart--a spell that should only cause the victim's wand to fly out of his hand--Lockhart is shot up and backwards. Sound familiar?

From the context of this scene, we know that Snape appears to be furious with Lockhart. Seeing the look on Snape's face before the mock duel, Harry thinks that, if he were in Lockhart's shoes, he'd run. I think Harry's Spidey senses were on target. Snape was pissed. And so I'm guessing that Snape ostensibly used Expelliarmus, but nonverbally cast something with a bit more power to rough up Lockhart.

And thus, I think, we have an important precedent for Dave Haber's theory that Snape was thinking something other than Avada Kedavra when he sent Dumbledore flying off the castle.

On the other hand, maybe Rowling simply thought Dumbledore's death deserved more drama than did the average bear's. And who could blame her?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Republican Stereotype

When I think of the worst of Republican stereotypes, this is the sort of story that comes to mind--brought to us by Idaho's Republican Senator Larry Craig. A stooge of Big Business who treats Nature like something to be scraped off of the bottom of his shoe.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Christmas Tune-age

Top 5 Christmas song recommendations, as this season's CD burning gets underway:

1. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (Pine Cones & Holly Berries), The Osmonds.
2. It Must Have Been The Mistletoe, Barbara Mandrell.
3. Christmas in Hollis, RUN-DMC.
4. The Man With All The Toys, The Beach Boys.
5. All I Want For Christmas Is You, Vince Vance And The Valiants (featuring Lisa Layne).

Honorable Mentions:
-- Happy XMas (War Is Over), John Lennon.
-- Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal), Vince Guaraldi Trio (A Charlie Brown Christmas).

Album Pick:
-- Sing We Christmas, Chanticleer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Perfume Donations

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my family took a trip to Glen Rose, Tx, where we camped at Dinosaur Valley State Park and took a drive through Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

An interesting side note to the trip: The male ocelot pictured to the right lives in a pen near the Fossil Rim visitors center. Texas ocelots are endangered--maybe 100 or so live in the wild. So he's a special guy.

Like many animals this ocelot likes to disguise his scent. And his keepers have discovered that he considers animal pelts doused with old perfume and cologne to be perfect for the job. The keepers apply the perfume or cologne to a pelt, leave it in his pen, and he rubs against it until he feels his scent is adequately "disguised."

Perfume doesn't grow on trees. We were told by a Fossil Rim employee that old perfume and cologne donations are
gladly accepted.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Beach Boys Re-Mix

If you've read my bio page, then you know I work in radio. I'm a Broadcast Journalist by degree, but I do thoroughly enjoy the music side of the radio industry. Recently I decided I'd try to take an a cappella version of the Beach Boys hit "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and mix it with the original single version. Of the many a cappella tracks available on various Beach Boys boxed sets and special releases, I think "Wouldn't It Be Nice" offers the cleanest and most beautiful harmonies.

A friend of mine at the station,
John Summers, also sat in on this project and deserves co-producer credit.

For your listening enjoyment, here's
an mp3 of the result.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Loss For Dallas Radio

Glenn Mitchell, the host of a general interest talk show on our local NPR affiliate, died in his sleep over the weekend. He was a local radio treasure.

I only met Glenn once--when he called me up out of the blue to see if he could come by the station and get a bit of Dallas Cowboys-related audio for his show. So I talked to him very briefly in the KLUV-FM parking lot as I handed him the tape.

But I've always been a fan of his show. I don't know how anyone could blend Public Radio with Talk Radio and do it better (and so effortlessly!).

If by some chance Glenn had originated from a New York or a Washington D.C. public radio station, I have no doubt that he'd have been given a national show.

He was one of those people who just sounded interesting. Whatever it was--his manner of speaking, the distinctiveness of his voice--if you happened upon him while channel surfing, you'd likely stay and listen.

My prayers are with his wife and family.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Katrina's Environmental Impact

I linked to this last week on the front page of The Coffee Shop Times. When I think of sandhill cranes, I seem to remember that they are used to reintroduce endangered whooping cranes into the wild. I had no idea that a subspecies of sandhill crane numbers around 100 individuals in the wild--less than the 300 or so wild whooping cranes. Unlike other sandhill subspecies, this particular group doesn't migrate and calls a wildlife refuge in southern Mississippi home. And then came Katrina. The human population in that area is having a tough enough time dealing with post-Katrina conditions, so the overall health of the sandhill colony is not yet known.